December 1, 2022
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I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.
Welcome to Rideau Hall for the Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony.
And let me also congratulate you in my mother tongue, Inuktitut:
Congratulations, and thank you for everything you do for our country and for all Canadians.
Each snowflake insignia symbolizes a kaleidoscope of different accomplishments, contributions and success.
Since becoming governor general, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with so many Canadians who are generous and innovative, who are creative and dedicated. Canadians who are making their mark every day in their community, this country and the world. Canadians who are members of the Order of Canada.
I’m delighted to learn their stories, to see the path that took them to embody the motto of the Order: “They desire a better country.”
Today, we learn your stories.
Throughout your lives and careers, you have made your communities better. You have improved our quality of life. You have changed the way we live, work and think.
What makes this moment particularly special is that you were nominated by someone who saw the hard work you put in. They knew, as we all do, that you are worthy of recognition.
And now, we will forever know your stories.
And you will all play an important role in our shared future.
In the last year, Canada has faced our country’s true history, including the mistreatment of Indigenous children who were forced to go to residential schools, increasing climate disasters and polarization of communities. As we move forward and find common ground, Canadians will need leaders of compassion and heart to show us the road to reconciliation, to show us how to renew our relationships with each other and with the land.
No matter where we come from, what languages we speak, what we believe, who we love, how we identify, we have in common a desire and an obligation to pass on our wisdom to the next generation. And also to listen to the wisdom of others.
This is our shared responsibility. We all have a role to play.
I hope one day to see a Canada that doesn’t just desire to be a better country, but is a better country. One where people live side-by-side without judgment. One where reconciliation and healing and renewed relationships are thriving. Where people have equal opportunity, education and services. Where we take nothing for granted.
And where we respect our stories, our history, our differences, our truths.
You have already struck out on the path towards a better country, encouraging leadership, sensitivity and hope.
Let us all work together to create a truly inclusive and diverse nation—a nation of kindness—where we celebrate our differences without giving up who we are.
Your induction into the Order of Canada isn’t the last step, but just one more on your ongoing journey.
Once again, congratulations.